During my encounter with “Cloud Atlas” – the film was accompanied by a myriad of film previews that piqued the mind’s imagination, opening up the viewer to themes of bright-eyed hope & resiliency in “The Impossible” trailer (Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts) – the urgency and cold truth emanating off of “Zero Dark Thirty” (from the director of “The Hurt Locker”) – the super imaginative quality of Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi", and the journey through the subconscious devolved archetype (Smiegel) in “The Hobbit”. During these previews, the mind is thoroughly ignited, prepped for the super-layered exploration awaiting it in “Cloud Atlas."
As the main feature begins, the audience is immediately dropped into a multidimensional cinematic reality: a film within films; lives shifting & shaping through subsequent generations and historical periods outside of the time/space continuum. Moments of deja-vu, synchronicity, and electro-magnetism govern the respective memories of the characters as they swirl through time/space with differing identities/physical bodies, yet always retaining a cognizable core essence of being throughout the incarnations and transformations.
Cloud Atlas begins just as it ends, with a screen-shot featuring the cosmos in a particular alignment, signifying a higher architecture & orchestration to the events unfolding on ground-zero (Earth). Replete with spine-tingling visuals and eye-opening literary quotes, I will preface the analysis with accompanying quotes from the film that supply foundational backbone to this truly unique motion picture.
:: “The World Spins from Unseen Forces” ::
Central to “Cloud Atlas” is the notion of reincarnation and karmic return. That is, the idea that each character creates realities based on their respective thoughts, actions, and beliefs, no matter how seemingly “small” or “large”. For instance, when Jim Sturgess incarnates into a slavery-era notary (Adam Ewing) and suddenly has an awakening whereby he terminates his career and vows to work for the abolitionist movement, his slavery-wielding father in-law (Hugo Weaving) angrily scolds Ewing, exclaiming, “No matter what good you think you’re doing, it’s still but a single drop in an ocean.” Ewing responds, “What is an ocean, but a multitude of drops?” This telling exchange characterizes a provocative idea introduced by Cloud Atlas: the idea that our present incarnations, actions, thoughts, and beliefs are not randomized and without consequence, but laden with causality and ripple effects – even if we are yet to understand the full extent of such effects.
caption: Adam Ewing (Jim Sturgess) is redeemed as an abolitionist
“Do you ever think the Universe is against you?”
With a creative Wachowski adaptation of the novel by David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas features characters who possess varying levels of sentience and personality traits throughout different life cycles.
As the scenes shift through past, present, and future timelines, we see Luisa Rey (Halle Berry) in the 1970’s San Francisco, a journalist espousing PLO-era panther nostalgia who happens to meet an elder Sixsmith (Tom Hanks) whereby she unveils a mystery about an oil magnate (Hugh Grant) with intentions to orchestrate a false-flag energy crisis while a hitman (Hugo Weaving) is after her like Agent Smith from the Matrix tirelessly chasing Trinity.
caption: Halle Berry's character - Luisa Rey
Contrast that with a different Jim Sturgess character (Adam Ewing) – who is a young notary traveling to the Pacific Islands in the 1850s, whereby he discovers a plantation operated by Gilles Horrox (Huge Grant) consisting of slaves – one of which is Autua (David Gyasi) – whom propels Ewing into an expansive experience via their interesting relationship.
caption: An unassuming Twin-Flame pairing
Indeed, for Matrix lovers, this film will give you plenty moments of nostalgia reminding you of the ever-expansive world the Wachowskis created via the Matrix trilogy. Perhaps no such nostalgia is richer than when a different emanation of Jim Sturgess (Hae-Joo Chang) is introduced in futuristic South Korea as an ascended, benevolent rebel who is seeking to save a genetically modified clone (Sonmi-451) amidst a myriad of visually-rich chase scenes where Chang pulls off miracle after miracle to save Sonmi-451. Indeed, the irony of Hae-Joo Chang taking on characteristics of Neo from the Matrix is juxtaposed against the fact that the city he is maneuvering through is titled “Neo-Seoul” – a world eerily reminiscent of the Machine World in the Matrix whereby humans are excised, grown, and cut off from their original core being in favor of being produced as a replicant race.
caption: Ascended rebel Super-Neo in Neo-Seoul
“All boundaries are awaiting to be transcended – which only happens when one can conceive of one doing so.”
Perhaps the most poignant presentation of reincarnation is in the relationship between the different incarnations of the various characters that Tom Hanks & Halle Berry portray. There are multiple times when the characters that Hanks & Berry portray come into contact with each other through various life-times, and yet each time they first meet, they share a divine spark, if even for a second, before resuming into their modality of the person they are in that particular life-time. This divine spark is analogous to the Twin-Flame concept, perhaps best described by José Argüelles here:
“The super-human stage is the level where the opportunity to encounter the Twin-Soul is presented, that is to say – the exalted vehicle of the opposite sex – which will be integrated at the septum – the point where the entities singularly divide. Consideration of the Twin-Soul phenomenon consciously opens the human to higher life in the mental, technological, scientific, and spiritual aspects of Cosmic existence. It is here where the Twin Souls manifest as a binary avatar, exemplifying cyclic closing and regeneration.” ~Evolutionary Reunion of Twin Souls (Book of the Avatar)
This TwinFlame Soul union is perhaps best depicted in the film where an etymologically challenged tribesman named Zachry (Tom Hanks) is accompanied by a technologically and spiritually advanced woman named Meronym (also embodying Ma'at characteristics as a higher entity re materializing physical matter through reincarnation cycles) (Halle Berry) in a time simply titled “106 winters after the Fall.” It is in this time period in the film where the Hanks-Berry TwinFlame energetic dynamic seems to reach a threshold, signifying the evolutionary ascent of their relationship dynamic throughout the various reincarnations.
caption: Zachry & Meronym in TwinFlame unionized ascent
Throughout the 6 different periods of time these characters shift through (incidentally, The Architect in the Matrix refers to the 6thversion of the Matrix in his encounter with Neo) – the Hanks & Berry characters continually find eachother as if electro-magnetically drawn, and the divine spark between them is undeniable regardless of what gender, age, race, sexuality, or earthly background their characters are animated with throughout these various stages & life cycles. This is precisely the higher purpose of Cloud Atlas, which explores the notion of the world as an exploratory realm where different incarnations of the same being are continually birthed into, until they “close the cycle” and reach a level of experience such that they are prepared for higher realms of consciousness.
Of course, the relationship between Neo & Trinity in the Matrix was a glittery exemplification of the TwinFlame Soul construct. However, the TwinFlame concept is not only implicated through romantic male/female union, here. It also exists in the film for the young notary (Adam Ewing) and the slave (Autua), whom jolts Ewing (literally into a coma) merely with a brief glance/eye contact connection while he is being viciously whipped. Further, the TwinFlame concept isn’t even limited to human-to-human contact. We see its emergence between the clone (Sonmi-451) and the film’s SuperNeo archetype (Chang). Alike, also present is the larger concept of the TwinFlame whereby we can experience higher Love through a myriad of relationships (friendship, marriage, parent/child, brother/sister). The idea of reincarnated transcendence in Cloud Atlas mirrors that multidimensional concept of ascension.
“The dead never stay dead. Open your ears and you’ll hear them.”
Throughout the film, the various characters that Hugo Weaving portrays are drawn from the same vein of fear, doubt, & shadowy sub-conscious torment. Throughout virtually all of the different time periods, Hugo Weaving weaves in and out each respective character’s sub-conscious, serving as a demonic “voice” and source of darkness/ignorance that attempts to confuse and degrade. Weaving’s presence of the film is that of the devolved subconscious mind, which has varying levels of success of locking down the centers of the human body throughout various scenes. This interesting depiction seems to serve as the lower-dimensional vibrations & entities that have been called different names (archons, djinn, demons, greys etc..) yet all carry the same purpose: the devolution of humanity.
“From womb to tomb we are bound to others – past and present. Whether by cry or hug, we mold our own future.”
The aforementioned quote above was spoken by the genetically altered clone, Sonmi-451, whose appearance and impact in the film hit me the hardest. Throughout the film, Sonmi-451 was being interviewed by what appeared to be a galactic council member (Archivist), scanning her thoughts/memories for essence/truth to be archived in the Akashic Records. The council member – who seemed to be an ascended androgynous being of a higher dimension – was seemingly perplexed at how a clone could possess heightened levels of understanding as it pertains to concepts such as karma, love, and unity consciousness. Indeed, Cloud Atlas wrestles with extraordinarily nuanced hyper-psycho-spiritual concepts, such as the notion that just as a human being can devolve into an automated recycler of negativity, so could a genetically altered inorganic clone evolve and develop into an organically autonomous being espousing human characteristics capable of creative thought.
caption: Clone Sonmi-45 is queried by Akashic Archivist
It is at this point in the film where perhaps the notion of Karma/Dharma is most poignant. In futuristic South Korea, its Draco-ruled culture is depicted as being one where consumerism rules all. This dreary – aspiritual world of virtual reality and cyborganization seems to be interlaced over the 1850s Pacific Islands reality where commodity culture ruled, and slavery/human chattel governed. The horrific disrespect of humanity portrayed in futuristic South Korea was rooted from the actions of the same inhumanity displayed in the Pacific Islands of the 1850s, reverberating with causality. It is in this futuristic South Korea reality where the degradation of humanity is at its peak, where the cognizable birth marks that signify originality and humanity are excised off of the new-born, and the line between organic and inorganic blurs into a genetically modified post-modern (in)human being with its soul effectively excised from its core.
This introduces the viewer to contemplate the cosmic laws of Karma (cause) and Dharma (effect). That is, the notion that our thoughts, beliefs, and actions create physicality and indeed mold our future state of being via causality:
“It is the electric function of the human being that brings about the different negative Karma and positive Dharma. That is, these psycho-neural channels are continually producing lines of force that control us, if we do not learn to control them. Karma means “action” – as cause & effect. Dharma means “law” rule or truth. The two words are of Sanskrit origin. Dharma refers to action producing positive effects, in alignment with cosmic orders, while karma refers to negative thoughts or actions.” ~Cosmic History Chronicles
Throughout the film, the characters deal with varying levels of karma/dharma, manifesting in a variety of earthly experiences. While some characters seem to feel that “the Universe is against them” – others find great joy/exaltation at cinematic climaxes within the film. In contrast, some characters experience great pain, fear, and confusion manifested in suicidal actions. The expansive radius of karma/dharma is well-depicted and provoking throughout the film.
“No matter if born in a womb or a tube, we are all pure blood. We must teach all the truths”
The overarching redeeming theme of Cloud Atlas is the idea that separation is an illusion and that all life sprouts from the same Universal core. That is, the erroneous notion that we are separate from others because of perceived physical divisions such as gender, ethnicity, orientation, or even species – is emphatically rebuked in the film as it challenges the audience to perceive of oneself as in effect – everything:
“All is Self is the maxim. There's nothing outside of Self - so all of the people who are waiting - this is where the door is. We see 1111 a lot because that means four, or door - when you go through that door you no longer see the separateness of God - you are actually becoming what your parents designed you to be. One of the most powerful things to innerstand is – instead of taking away from yourself and separating yourself from different things/concepts – to take it all in through a level of acceptance as a huge lesson, and an adventure – such that there is a higher consciousness that has set itself up for us to benefit from. There is no death to us so there should not be any fear – you’re inside of the Universe.” ~ James “Sevan” Bomaer
Cloud Atlas challenges the viewer to contemplate the aforementioned concepts in an artistically dynamic way featuring dazzling aesthetics and well-conceived plot-lines. For the purveyor of esoteric knowledge, the film is rich in symbolism, laden with provocative philosophy, and satisfying in the daring direction it takes to not shy away from huge concepts. If but for a couple hours, Cloud Atlas will take the audience on a journey both inside and outside of time/space to contemplate questions of universality and will likely surface in the conscious mind at increasing rates as we move forward.
~David Matthew for Esoteric Review